I love Easter and not just because of the chocolate! It’s the ultimate story of hope. We Brits love the tale of the underdog overcoming all the odds and triumphing having faced every possible adversity. And Jesus’ betrayal, torture, humiliation and unjust execution followed by His miraculous resurrection from the dead, is as good as it gets in terms of snatching victory from the jaws of defeat! But I think it resonates with us not just because it’s a great story but because it mirrors our experience of life.
I have been reading some feminist theology and it has enriched my appreciation of Easter this year. Ivone Gebara says in her book, ‘Out of the Depths’, “His cross does not stand alone; the surrounding community shouts “no” to this assassination, “no” to this crucifixion, “no” to the powers that kill… There are followers, men and women, who declare by their solidarity that unjust death does not have the last word… Crosses are always present, but different creative forms of redemption are present too. The Spirit awakens in us this renewed possibility of salvation. There are provisional escapes from our tentative lives. Hope is in our bones, walking along with our steps, breathing with our every breath.”
I really like this idea that weaved into the ordinariness of life are everyday crucifixions, juxtaposed with mundane resurrections. What is even more thrilling is how God allows us the privilege of being the bearers of His light and hope in the world. I had an experience of this last weekend. I was at the United Reformed Church in Kingston doing Ruach card readings and hand massage. It was a great day and I met lots of lovely people who were really blessed by God through what I was able to share with them. But right at the end of my time I met a homeless guy called Steve. He was very apprehensive of having his hands massaged but had been talked into it by an outreach worker based at the church. As he let me pour oil into his hands and gently massage it into his skin, he began to relax and to talk of the time before he was out on the streets. It was a real blessing to listen to him and to touch him. At the end of it, he said to me with tears in his eyes, “Usually the only physical contact I get is a kick or a punch. But this was nice.” His daily life experience is one of crucifixion and yet for a moment the Kingdom broke in and some resurrection hope was revealed. It was a joy to be a carrier of that hope.
I came across a story recently in an e-book called ‘Unintended Consequences’ by Andrew Brims (http://andrewbrims.wordpress.com/2012/02/21/free-ebook-unintended-consequences/). In this story the animals gather to decide how to conquer a neighbouring land. As the lion is king and the hippo lazy, fox suggests sending the elephant because the earth shakes when he moves. However, the owl makes a case for rabbit, “They’re quick and nimble and multiply, well…like rabbits!” Despite rubbishing owl’s idea, they send both. A year later fox reports back. The elephants have caused a stir and they are in two families but there are rabbits everywhere and it’s been renamed ‘Rabbit-land’!
In my experience Christians are often tempted or seduced by impressive, clever campaigns that promise much and have a big price tag. Yet Jesus talked of the good news infiltrating like yeast in dough. So, this Easter as you sink your teeth into your chocolate bunny, maybe it’s worth reflecting on how you expect the Kingdom to come? Is it with nationwide programmes and headline grabbing controversies, or one resurrection multiplying moment at a time? If it is changed hearts that transform societies, bunnies win every time!